§ 44-27-5. Classification of open space land.
(a)(1) An owner of land may apply for its classification as open space land on any assessment list of a city or town by filing a written application for that classification with the assessor of the city or town, not later than thirty (30) days before nor later than thirty (30) days after the date of assessment, except in years of revaluation when the landowner may file not later than thirty (30) days after receiving written notice of revaluation or in its absence after receipt of the tax bill. The assessor shall determine whether the land is open space and, if the assessor determines that the land is open space, the assessor shall classify the land as open space land and include the land as open space on the assessment list.
(2) In order to maintain this classification, each year thereafter, the landowner shall submit to the assessor a certificate, on a form prescribed by the assessor, confirming that the land is still open space. The assessor shall in the first notification mail the forms by first class mail not later than the thirtieth of November and if a second notification is needed, it shall be mailed certified. Failure to submit the certificate by thirty (30) days after the date of assessment is construed as voluntary withdrawal of the classification; except that the assessor may waive this requirement for good cause.
(3) Notwithstanding the preceding subdivision, whenever the owner of land designated and classified as open space land is a municipal land trust, municipal conservation commission, or private nonprofit land trust, annual certification is not required, and the classification continues until the voluntary withdrawal of the classification by the owner, or the transfer of the land by the owner is fee simple.
(b) An application for classification of land as open space land shall be made upon a form prescribed by the assessor and shall present a description of the land, a general description of the use to which it is being put, and any other information that the assessor may require to aid him or her in determining whether the land qualifies for that classification.
(c) Failure to file an application for classification of land as open space land within the time limit prescribed in subsection (a) of this section and in the manner and form prescribed in subsection (b) of this section is considered a waiver of the right to that classification on the assessment list.
(d) Any landowner aggrieved by: (1) the denial of an application filed in accordance with the provisions of subsections (a) and (b) of this section by the assessor of a city or town for classification of land as open space land; or (2) the use value assessment placed on land classified as open space land by the assessor; has the right to file an appeal within ninety (90) days of receiving notice, in writing, of the denial or the use value assessment with the board of assessment of review of the city or town. Should the city or town not have a board of assessment review, the city or town council shall review the appeal. The assessor shall be given the opportunity to explain either his or her refusal to classify the land or the assessment placed on the classified land. The board of review or city or town council shall also consider the testimony of the landowner and the city or town's planning board and conservation commission, if they exist. They shall also seek and consider the advice of the office of state planning, the department of environmental management, the dean of the college of resource development and the conservation district in which the city or town is located.
(e)(1) The board of assessment review, or city or town council, shall not disturb the designation of the director issued pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, unless the tax assessor has shown by a preponderance of the evidence that that designation was erroneous.
(2) The board of assessment review or city or town council shall render a decision within forty-five (45) days of the date of filing the appeal. Decisions of the board of assessment review, or city or town council, may be appealed to the superior court pursuant to the provisions of § 44-27-6.
(P.L. 1980, ch. 252, § 2; P.L. 1986, ch. 73, § 1; P.L. 1986, ch. 247, § 1; P.L. 1990, ch. 339, § 3; P.L. 2013, ch. 303, § 1; P.L. 2013, ch. 430, § 1.)